It’s terribly sad that all we seem to hear of Human Head’s ambitious, semi-free form, Blade Runner-inspired shooter Prey 2 is the occasional murky rumour and contradiction about its troubled status. Not so long ago word abounded that it had been taken down the bottom of the garden and shot by Bethesda, which after slightly too long a wait was then officially disputed. We’ve just heard the exact same song and dance again, which I shall report purely because we don’t know owt else about Prey 2’s state of play. Read the rest of this entry »
With official confirmation still lacking as to whether Prey 2 is currently bleeding out by the bins out the back of Bethesda HQ or if the great hunt will yet continue, one of the many additional questions is what might become of developer Human Head. Sounds like they’re pondering a resurrection of their first game, viking-based brawler Rune. The 2000 Unreal-powered stabbing’n’jumping title is, apparently, a “cult hit classic”, and its official Facebook page has raised the possibility of it getting the sequel treatment. Read the rest of this entry »
Yes, it’s that oldest of all the jokes. But I’m afraid a screenshot of Tommy’s actual back is all we’re getting from Human Head today. Given exactly thirty-two in every five hundred and twenty-eight people on the internet were vocally distressed to discover that Prey 2 would be ditching the first game’s Native American protagonist Tommy in favour of a white soldierdude named Killian Samuels, you’d have thought the first unveiling of Tommy’s NPC appearance in Prey 2 would have a little more hullabaloo. But no, just his back. And a bit of his nose, admittedly. Will he be purely a talky character, or will you fight alongside him somehow? I don’t know these things. I’m sorry. Look, I’ve got this picture of his back, and that’s all. Stop looking at me like that. What do you want from me?
So there you go. There’s the picture of a man’s back. That’s my story. We’ll always remember this moment.
So we already know the broader picture of Prey 2 – a sandbox ‘alien noir’ world, with you as a bounty hunter taking on contracts – and how it’s a far cry from the first game, but what about the details? Let’s ask Prey 2 developer Human Head’s project lead Chris Rinehart and chief creative officer Jim Sumwalt for a closer look at just how the missions, the morality and the money-making works – as well as why they decided to leave the first game’s play style behind, why the themes are similar even if the lead character is not, whether it’s all urban or if things get wilder, and why the hell he’s called ‘Killian Samuels…’ Read the rest of this entry »
I’m very surprised. Good surprised, not bad surprised. Prey is not a game I feel anything about, to be completely honest. I know it has its fans, but for me it remains part of that mass of id Tech 4-based stodgy shooters which went heavy on bio-mechanical corridor-pounding gloss at the expense of play I found truly engaging, despite early-game experiments with big ideas. Prey 2? More corridors, more textbook murderous aliens, more blamblamblam, no thank you ma’am.
Except it’s not. I was not expecting a game where you spend a significant time without a gun taking up half your screen. I was not expecting an open-world game, inspired more by the likes of Red Dead Redemption and STALKER than by Quake and Call of Duty. I was not expecting a game where your interaction with funny-headed aliens is as much about making moral judgements as it is shooting them. I’m surprised. Read the rest of this entry »
I admit, I never got around to playing any more of Human Head’s shooter than the demo. However, I return from London Town to see that if I had any spare time, now would be a good chance to change that. For this weekend – and this weekend only! – it’s on sale on Steam, for a mere $4.95. And for Europeans, that means it’s at least seven ultracheaps. It divided critical opinion upon release - I know Jim was a big fan of the physics-warping levels, but it was critiqued even more than Bioshock for its repawning system. Those who’ve played it: Worth five dollars? Seriously, how could it not be.
Comrade Mike sent us this ‘Tube link to a 1998 live demo of the second iteration of the Prey project, a game which had originally been announced by 3D Realms back in 1995. It was (probably) the first game to demonstrate working portal technology, as you’ll see three minutes into this clip.
Prey’s fate, of course, was to be abandoned on several occasions, and much of the technology developed through the Nineties was ultimately scrapped. It was finally released in June 2006 after being remade in the Doom 3 engine by Human Head. The portal-use and general physics-twisting Escher-inclinations survived to the released version – and pretty much saved what was otherwise a fairly generic shooter. In fact I would go as far as to argue that reviewers of Prey didn’t quite make enough of its excellent reality-bending ideas. Although none of them were quite of the level of Portal’s own player-empowered puzzling, they did create some incredible moments in gaming: I’m thinking particularly of the size-change scene. (And I think those folks who’ve played Prey will know what I mean.) The overall game might not have impressed us all that much, but the more games we play that add to the reality-warping palette of gaming, the better, says I. We want more of This Sort Of Thing.